My Birthday Week (I’m Milking It!)

If I must acknowledge getting older, then I prefer to have my birthday celebration spread out over days. This year I’ve got a birthday week – and if I count the concert with a friend in November, I’ve got a birthday season!

Hiking at dawn! It has been too long.

Hiking at dawn. It has been too long.

Highlights this year are two dawn hikes (my first hikes with my new hip), a trip to the beach, and dinner at a favorite restaurant. My kids also gave me a book of dustbowl-era political and social photographs:

My kids got me this book.

Looks like an interesting book and its photos are unforgettable.

It’s an awesome book but what really makes it special is the thoughtfulness with which they chose it. (They figured it fit with my love of Woody Guthrie and my recent interest in traditional bluegrass.)

At last, hiking again!


I Had Better Get Busy

My “desert island” food is the blueberry. My “desert island” place is the ocean. Which proves convenient: I don’t have to bring my favorite place with me to the desert island, it will already surround me.

Desert island. Typing that phrase, I realize how comfortable I am using language when I don’t entirely know what it means. That must get me into trouble sometimes but apparently I don’t know when that happens.

Desert island. Somewhere remote and cut-off, I figure. Checking that infallible source of information, the internet, I learn that a desert island is an island that is not inhabited by humans.

(Sue’s first rule of blogging: start with a digression. Or four.)

Here’s the point: I love the ocean but I have only been to two of them.  Mostly the Pacific. Occasionally the Atlantic. Surely I need to see the others, and visit them from more than one location. Which means I had better get busy and travel faster.

Here is what the Atlantic Ocean looked like during my visit to a Florida beach:

The Atlantic Ocean from a beach in central Florida.

The Atlantic Ocean at sunset from a beach in central Florida.

At this beach it was not a good idea to walk while enjoying the view. There were dead jellyfish everywhere! I don’t know whether this was typical for this area. Perhaps I visited during a time of jellyfish affliction.

Dead jellyfish covered the beach like land mines.

It was a beach of dead jellyfish land mines.

(In response to this Weekly Photo Challenge.)

My Most Potent Energy Source

The ocean is my place. It’s where I go to revive, invigorate, find peace. At the shore I feel connected to all that underlies our everyday lives.

I love the way the shorebirds run out as the surf recedes, run back as it returns. They are so in tune with the pattern of the waves and the movements of the other birds. And it often feels like they are playing as well as eating.

Ventura Beach, California, 2008

Ventura Beach, California, 2008

(In response to this Weekly Photo Challenge.)

The Gull, the Rocks, and the Sea

I don’t like seagulls much, but this one did nothing offensive during the brief time we were together. Anyway there can’t always be pelicans.

Ocean with gull, in landscape mode.

Ocean with gull, in landscape mode.

Ocean with gull, in portrait mode.

Ocean with gull, in portrait mode.

These photos show a glimpse of beach at San Clemente, CA, where it is always this beautiful.

(This week’s Photo Challenge wants to see one image shot two ways.)

Adulterated Joy

A friend sends me a link to the sweetest video ever, a baby elephant enjoying the ocean.

Who could not love watching this? It induces unadulterated joy! Until I learn that this elephant – and others – have been exploited by Thailand resorts.  I hate that.  I want to stop that. I certainly don’t want to do anything that might promote those resorts.

So do I share the video or not? I decide that the elephant’s pleasure is pure and true, and although the back story is unhappy, I still love this video, just as this elephant loves the ocean.

All the Blues Imaginable

One of the great treats about being alive and on this planet is getting to see the ocean at sunrise and sunset. I am always staggered by the number of different colors in the water. I’ve yet to get a photo that comes close to capturing it, but maybe that’s okay. Because I don’t have a photo I need to keep going back to see the real thing.

The full moon sets and the sun rises at Carlsbad Beach, San Diego County, California

The full moon sets and the sun rises at Carlsbad Beach, San Diego County, California

(Posted for the latest Weekly Photo Challenge.)

Pelicans Know They’re Cool

I love watching pelicans. Their wave-skimming flight, their tight formations with many birds veering as one, their precision dives – they always get their fish!  Watching pelicans reminds me of Gary Larsen’s Far Side frame with the buzzards wearing shades and the caption “birds of prey know they’re cool”.

Every once in a while, I catch some pelicanness on camera.

Pelican at sunrise, East River, NYC.

Pelican at sunrise, East River, NYC.

Pelicans at sunrise, Carlsbad Beach, San Diego County, CA

Pelicans at sunrise, Carlsbad Beach, San Diego County, CA

They're up there. Really.

They’re up there. Really.